How I stayed in touch with my Romanian culture at University

Romanian painted easter eggs

It’s only after you move to a different country that you realise how much you miss your culture. The UK was a big change compared to the Eastern European country that I come from. However, even so far away from home, there are ways that I found to stay connected to my culture and these are some of them:

  • Find people from the same culture
    It might sound difficult to find people from your culture in the massive student body, but once I got to campus, I started bumping into people that are from Romania or people who knew someone from Romania. I went to societies, events and made friends who introduced me to other people from my country and slowly we formed a community that made home feel a little bit closer to us.
  • Meet up and do culture-specific activities
    I met my first Romanian friend 2 or 3 months into starting university. The day we met we decided that we need to have a traditional dinner. So, the next day, I was at her house having dinner with another Romanian that she knew. All three of us were sitting at her table, devouring the home-made sarmale that her grandmother had sent frozen from Romania. It is still one of the best meals I have had in the UK.
  • Celebrate culture-specific events
    I have found that carrying on the celebrations specific to my country helps me keep a small part of my culture with me, even if things are slightly different. Back home we celebrate the beginning of spring by giving red and white string pieces, so my friends and I decided to keep this going even in the UK and managed to find similar strings and keep the tradition going by passing them amongst ourselves and our friends.
  • Share your culture with people from other cultures
    Sharing my culture with other people, has always made me feel proud and closer to it. For Orthodox Easter, me and a few other Easter European friends decided to celebrate with our friends by hosting a traditional Eastern European Easter dinner which involved egg-painting and lots of delicious food. We all made a traditional dish from our country and shared traditions and games that we do at home.
  • Find culture-specific shops
    I know this one does not sound as grand as the ones above, but one of the first things I did when moving to the UK was Google where I can find Romanian shops. I cannot describe how amazing it feels to go into a store and see foods and things that you are familiar with after only being in foreign stores for a while. Cooking with ingredients you are accustomed with can make your university kitchen feel more like home than you would think.

These are only a few of the ways that I found helped me stay close to my culture while at university, but there are so many things that you can do. Your culture is a thing to cherish and be proud of, don’t be afraid to share and enjoy it with others!

You can start now by looking on the RUSU website and checking if there is a society based on your culture

Also, just send a text on a university group chat and see if there is anyone from the same place as you or start making a list of all the things from your culture that you want to share with your friends. It is always worth it to stay in touch with your culture!

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